Opening Day is right around the corner! With tons of moves, some minor rule changes, and the announcement that Geovany Soto is back swinging a bat I think we are all ready for baseball. I will hopefully be lucky enough to avoid watching my Cubs lose at Wrigley on Thursday, but there are 29 other teams to talk about so that’s what I’m focusing on. That being said, I have done plenty of research to give you guys my thoughts on each team and their expectations for 2022. Lets get right into it!
#30 Baltimore Orioles
Another year, another lost cause for the O’s. While we love some of the guys on the roster in Adley Rutschman, Cedric Mullins, and Trey Mancini, the pitching staff is abysmal. Add in the fact they are in the deepest division in baseball? The ceiling for this team is 65 wins and that is being generous, expect a lot of runs for opposing teams against Baltimore this year and hammer the oppositions spreads responsibly.
#29 Pittsburgh Pirates
The same thing can be said about Pittsburgh as Baltimore, however, they at least have the luxury of being in the worst division in baseball. Not much excitement for the Pirates outside of Ke’Bryan Hayes, Oneil Cruz, and Roansy Contreras, but this is a young team that will take a couple years to develop. With not much to lose, their ceiling is around 70 wins and surprisingly highest of the bottom 5 teams, I just do not see that coming to fruition.
#28 Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati cleaned house, not much more to say. Reds fans can enjoy Joey Votto and Jonathan India, but outside of that they will be banking on average talent performing at unattainable expectations. I see them dealing Castillo and some of their bats at the deadline, leaving the second half of the season for development of their younger prospects going into 2023.
#27 Oakland Athletics
With the all-star corner infield duo of Matt Olson and Matt Chapman departing Oakland, the lineup is pretty weak. I love Cristian Pache and think by the end of the first month he will be an everyday starter. Outside of the starting rotation I don’t think the A’s will be very successful this year, leaving for a developmental second half of the season for up and coming prospects. Expect a 60-70 win season and Montas and Manaea to be gone by the deadline or sooner.
#26 Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks are just mediocre all around. Not enough depth to compete in their division, and not enough swagger to have a surprise season. They locked up Ketel which is good for the long run, but the addition of lockdown closer Mark Melancon won’t mean much if he isn’t given any leads going into the ninth. This will be a battle for fourth with Colorado.
#25 Colorado Rockies
Like the Diamondbacks, the Rockies are just average. The 2-5 in their lineup will generate the majority of their runs this year, and their starters do not seem to be enough for them to succeed outside of a battle for fourth with Arizona. And they took away Kris Bryant from me, not a fan.
#24 Cleveland Guardians
The only noise Cleveland will generate this year is their name change, as this team has zero depth and will struggle mightily in the Central now that Minnesota decided to put forth a competitive team. The 1-4 in their lineup is actually really good, and I can’t complain with their rotation and bullpen. Out of the bottom ten teams, I actually like them as a sleeper to have a couple streaky runs throughout the year, but nothing involving a postseason berth. I can see them dealing away JRam and Bieber at the deadline if things go south fast. A battle for fourth with Kansas City looks inevitable.
#23 Washington Nationals
After a WS title in 2019, change has come at the Nationals fast as 2022 looks like a full rebuild year. Soto and Cruz could each put up 50 homers this year and I would still have the Nats no higher than fourth in the N.L. East. Strasburg will probably have “injury problems” to keep him from having to waste his arm, and Cruz will be dealt to a contender by the deadline. Enjoy Soto this year Nats fans, it’s about all you got.
#22 Kansas City Royals
Writing this out now, I think the Royals might have a worse record than the Guardians this season, but I truly think they are the better team. Salvy will most likely return to Earth after that insane 2021 season, Mondesi will look to stay healthy, and the Royals will try their best this year to make things difficult for the contenders in their division. And hey, Greinke is back!
#21 Miami Marlins
Put this team in the N.L. Central and they could contend for the division. Leave them where they are at and it’s a fight for fourth with the Nats. I like this team a lot, and their energy is unmatched. The addition of Soler will make him a candidate for 100 RBIs this year, and their first three starters are nasty. Sucks to be in the N.L. East, otherwise this team would have a completely different outlook.
#20 Texas Rangers
A lot of people are hyping up this team, and while I agree Rangers fans should be excited, I do not think this is the year. Seager and Semien will do exactly what they came there to do, and Adolis Garcia will be an RBI machine if he has the season he had last year in 2022. Why I am so hesitant on this team? Pitching. Jon Gray is not an ace for a contending baseball team. I do not see them beating out the Astros or Mariners and with no hopes of playing postseason baseball, this team will die down in the second half.
#19 Chicago Cubs
These guys could easily be a bottom 5 team if I wasn’t biased, but as a man that bleeds blue I must remain hopeful. I am still delusional and think the Cubs could perform at their best and steal a division in which no one wants to win, but we will save that talk for another time. As it stands, Stroman and Hendricks are gonna be the guys, and our lineup will be as average as it gets. Look for a big year from Clint Frazier and Wade Miley, and hopefully a good enough season that doesn’t involve selling Contreras and Stroman at the deadline. Also welcome Seiya!!!
#18 Los Angeles Angels
Will Thor stay healthy? Can we get the best player in baseball into the playoffs? Am I talking about Trout or Shohei? So many questions, and not too many firm answers for Angels fans. I do think this will be one of their more competitive seasons in recent seasons, but there’s something about the energy in Seattle that makes me think the Angels are ready to disappoint again and fall into the third slot. This is definitely a team that can win the A.L. West, but Houston always finds a way to get the job done and the Angels always find ways to have their players injured. Really hoping things change for the sake of baseball because Trout and Ohtani are special and only have so much time.
#17 Detroit Tigers
I am all aboard the Detroit hype train! Their lineup should be exciting and something about Baez getting his well-deserved paycheck makes me want to think he will excel in his new home. I think Casey Mize will exceed expectations this season and boost a rotation that could sneak into top 10 in the league. I think this is a young team that will make a second place finish very tough for Minnesota, and seeing Correa not make the postseason could be very nice since he didn’t want to be a Cub.
#16 Minnesota Twins
I may be out of line for assuming the lineup the Twins have will generate more runs than their unproven pitching staff will allow, but I like the Twins this year. Adding Gary Sanchez, Gio Urshela, and Carlos Correa make the departure of Josh Donaldson forgettable. Losing Berrios, Pineda, and Maeda, however, is where things can get a little tricky for the Twins. They went from first in 2020 to last in 2021, but I remain optimistic for a team with that much talent at the plate and in the field. A battle for second with Detroit should be intriguing, but postseason hopes are a little iffy with their current pitching staff.
#15 St. Louis Cardinals
The Redbirds always find a way to get things done, and with the end of the road for at least 2 of their 3 franchise favorites I could see some magic in St. Louis if everything goes right. Their lineup is probably the best in the weak N.L. Central, but their lack of quality starters could lead to some tough losses in games the offense puts up runs. If Flaherty can stay healthy, Uncle Charlie pitches like he’s 30 (again), and they can keep Jordan Hicks on the field I think their ceiling is division champs. Outside of their 17 game winning streak last season I thought the Cards were very average, but it goes to show they can turn it up at any time. If this team struggles to stay healthy, things will go south very quickly and any shot of a postseason run is out of the question.
#14 Milwaukee Brewers
I hate Milwaukee. Outside of some of their pitchers and Christian Yelich everything about the Brewers organization irks me. Will I give them the highest chance of a division title? Sure. But I will not sit here and type out a projection in which I think they are a top ten team like other people do. The only thing they benefit from is being in a terrible division, and adding in Renfroe and Cutch does nothing but remind me how BAD their lineup will be. Burnes and Woodruff would normally be the best duo in baseball if it weren’t for Steve Cohen and the Mets going all in, but despite having a top 5 pitching staff again this year, their offense will hold them back in October and this team will be another division-winner flop come playoff time.
#13 San Diego Padres
I am going to be careful how I approach this projection, unlike Padres shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was on his motorcycle. Wait, I think I did that wrong. Anyway the Padres weren’t going to be division favorites this year even with a healthy Tatis since Los Angeles decided to put together the greatest lineup ever made. Not having their star shortstop for three months, however, severely impacts their chance at a division title; or at the very least stealing a wild card spot in a competitive N.L.. The Padres have depth, star power, a new coach, and everything a team would want for the full 162. Being without Tatis just makes it more difficult. Expect this team to be hungry and battle hard for second with San Francisco, especially after how 2021 went down.
#12 Seattle Mariners
Ah Seattle. After an amazing second half stretch in 2021, this team looks to capitalize and go after their first postseason berth since 2001. The additions of Winker and Suarez from the Reds, along with Robbie Ray from the Jays, makes this team significantly better. Mariner fans can enjoy an exciting season and should remain very optimistic to snag a wild card spot, or if they’re good enough a division title. Also Kelenic redemption season incoming.
#11 New York Yankees
I am not giving in and saying this Yankees team is top 10 in baseball. Sure they have everything a top ten team would have, but with how competitive the A.L. East is I just do not see them beating out the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Rays. Their lineup is pretty deep and should do damage in terms of generating runs, but their pitchers don’t strike me as a playoff contending staff. Could this team perform at their best and win the division? Absolutely. Will that happen? Absolutely not. Look for the Yanks to contend for the wild card and maybe buy at the deadline to add some proven arms to help down the stretch.
Hope you guys enjoyed my rankings, will look to get the final ten teams prior to opening day. Would you guys be interested if I started doing baseball betting suggestions? Lmk in the comments or in my dms. Have a good day y’all and go Cubs!